The Bellini Card

19 responses to “The Bellini Card

  1. Roger Webb

    Just finished reading the Bellini Card,loved it .I feel it really caught the atmosphere of Venice in those days, as do all the books with Istanbul.
    Although I have never visited Istanbul I feel I know it.
    Excellent series let’s have more please.

    • thebellinicard

      Thanks, Roger! I hope you do visit Istanbul some time… Yashim is on the case again, and he’ll be back next year in a book called The Evil Eye.

  2. Thoroughly enjoyed the book but please could someone tell me why it is called The Bellini “Card”?! Thought it is about a painting, not a card, or am I missing the point?

    • thebellinicard

      Thanks for writing. Hmmm. I do take your point – in Italian it’s called Il Ritratto de Bellini, which is The Bellini Portrait. But it sounds a trifle flat in English, so I brought in ‘card’ in the sense of playing a card – a gambit, really. Gambit would have been good but Boris Akunin has book called The Turkish Gambit and I don’t want to tread on his toes! Isn’t it hard?
      The Janissary Tree – everyone said it was too obscure, but I thought that people know what a tree is; and it worked as a title. The Snake Stone – well, I wanted it called The Serpent Column but that didn’t happen.
      The next is called An Evil Eye.

      • Hi, we thought that was probably the reason why, but I agree it must be very hard to think up titles which are unique, different and catching! I’ve not read your other 2 books, so I now need to buy them when next in the UK (we live in France!)

        On the subject of titles, my godmother was Stella Gibbons of Cold Comfort Farm fame and that expression, “cold comfort” has crept so much into use these days as well as “something nasty in the woodshed”! So I hope that The Bellini Card might do the same thing for you.

  3. Matt Prestone

    THe Bellini Card is wonderful yet maddening book. I love Venice and have spent much time there although I have been too busy to look at the stars, sad to say. Istanbul is just as unique in it’s own way and you bring both cities to life. I feel rather stupid in asking but what is the pattern that figures so prominently in the story? I wish the American edition had had it pictured on the frontispiece or the cover somewhere.

    I have enjoyed all the Yashim books and look forward to more.

  4. Dear Jason
    The name ‘The Sand Reckoner’s Diagram’ was made up by me during the 90’s for a graphic diagram which I had been studying (and using in stained glass work) for a couple of decades. It was featured in nu8mberous talks I gave in Southern England and Northern Spain. It was formally introduced when I gave a talk to the Research Into Lost Knowledge Organisation (RILKO) in London at the beginning of this century.

    I have had a book ‘Patterns of Eternity’ on the market for some months now. It represents 35 years of research on this topic. In it’s introduction it refers to the genesis of the term ‘the snad reckoner’s diagram’. Just as I would not quote you without acknowledgement, I would be grateful if, in future, you would extend me the same courtesy. Thank you.

  5. Claire Williams

    I am looking for the carrot recipe that was on the Bellini Card Web site. The whole “Kitchen” section has vanished!

    How about a Yashim Cooking Show on Food Network? Truly!

    • thebellinicard

      Hi Claire,

      I don’t know how it disappeared for you – I can still get it myself! But this is the recipe you asked for –

      One reason to make this dip is that it’s incredibly delicious; it will also remind you that Turks cook with the same stuff as us.

      You cut half a dozen carrots into rings, or split them lengthways, and simmer them in a little water until they’re soft. You can then mash them with a fork or drop them into a blender, along with a teaspoonful of caraway seeds, a little shot of olive oil, and the juice of half a lemon. Add a little salt and pepper, to taste.

      If you spread the carrot puree into a soup-plate, you can make a well in the centre which you fill with some yoghurt mixed with a couple of cloves of chopped garlic, the juice of the other half of the lemon and a sprinkle of freshly chopped dill and mint. Then you eat it all with crusty French bread.

      Hope that helps…

  6. Mary Nelson

    Oh Mr Goodwin, I love your books. I have read all of them and I am addicted to Yashim. When is your next book coming out? Can you write faster please:)

    A Yashim groupie

  7. Am taking 16 media-oriented college students to Istanbul summer 2012 (as well as Vienna, Prague, Munich, Split, Hvar and London.) Your books have been most useful in helping me gain perspective on the Ottoman empire and quite helpful in helping me tie these cities together in terms of historical relevance.

  8. Aldo Matteucci


    don’t know where else to put this remark. There is an anachronism on pg. 36 of EVIL EYE. Colour tubes were only invented in 1841, so that chance that an empoverished Polish ambassador had some… is well reduced. Chhers


    • jasongoodwin

      Hi Aldo – Reduced chance, true, but nothing about Palewski is as expected. He is poor, yes, but of course he has made many friends in a long career, as a landowner, soldier (in Italy and Russia, inter alia) and diplomat. He still receives (and contributes to) obscure journals from London and Paris, and I think the paints reached him the same way… from a wealthy admirer in Rome? Thanks very much for the tip=off! all best, Jason

  9. Beth L Evard

    Dear Jason, sitting in Istanbul reading The Bellini Card. In fact, I saved it for the trip. Yesterday I saw the palace and today the cistern, each time felt that Yashim was with me. As I walked around the spice market, I wished I had an Yashim cookbook. Thank you for your extraordinary books. Beth

    • jasongoodwin

      Thank you, Beth! Hmmm, that cookbook…. Round the back of the Spice Bazaar, turn right by the coffee bean shop and about four hundred yards along you’ll find a) a very interesting little shop full of sharp things like scissors, penknives and agricultural scythes, and a tiny kebab shop almost next door, where you can have a delicious plate of something sitting on a stool on the lane. Have a good time!

  10. Beth L Evard

    Jason, received your message after I left Istanbul and am now on the northern coast of the Bodrum Peninsula on Mandalay Bay. While I’ve never written a cookbook, I did write “Managing Business Change For Dummies” so I have a good understanding of book writing. I would love to do the grunt and computer work on Yashim’s cookbook; I would need the actual recipes.  I would also test each one out for a Western kitchen. This would be totally Dana (Pali for giving). In fact, tomorrow I’m taking a Turkish cooking class. Warmly, Beth 

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